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Beale AFB Gets New Global Hawk

File photo: RQ-4 Global Hawk UAV.
by John C.K. Daly
UPI International Correspondent
Washington (UPI) Nov 24, 2006
On Nov. 21 a RQ-4 Global Hawk Unmanned Aerial Vehicle launched from Beale Air Force Base, Calif., made its first operational Air Combat Command flight. Air Force Print News reported on Nov. 22 that Beale Air Force base has been waiting for the UAVs for five years in order to begin local training flights.

Brig. Gen. H.D. Polumbo said, "This is an important day for Beale and the surrounding community as we flew the first complete sortie from Beale and for Air Combat Command. This flight symbolizes the first of many training missions designed to prepare our crews for missions over Iraq and Afghanistan and worldwide in the global war on terror.

"Although designed as surveillance and intelligence-gathering aircraft, Global Hawks flown locally are not currently outfitted with sensors used during overseas missions. Beale's Global Hawk aircraft are used to train pilots, sensor operators and maintainers so they are ready for combat missions over Southwest Asia."

The Global Hawk UAV has become an increasingly important element in the U.S arsenal in its war against terror. The global Hawk provides U.S.-based Air Force and theater battlefield commanders high-resolution imagery in near real-time. Since its initial deployment in the late 2001 Global Hawk UAVs have flown more than 5,000 hours of overseas missions in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Beale Air Force Base personnel have been preparing to receive the UAVs for more than three years, with maintenance Airmen training on the UAVs in overseas during deployments.

Source: United Press International

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